Flipboard 4.0 launched today, introducing a redesigned app that revolves around one core new feature: Smart Magazines. The magazine analogy isn’t altogether different from Flipboard’s previous interface, where certain topics or news sources made up a grouping of stories through which users could flip. The main difference here is found in the deeper level of personalization available with Smart Magazines.
In past versions of Flipboard, searching for a topic like ‘Apple’ would present the option to simply add that broad topic as a source of stories to view in the future. With Smart Magazines, Flipboard dives deeper into nuanced areas of a topic in an effort to pinpoint stories that are of particular interest to you. So searching ‘Apple’ as a topic of interest will now present you a screen full of sub-topics to help ensure that the stories you want to see are the stories you’ll get.
If you’re a former user who loved Flipboard in the past, and haven’t been totally satisfied with newer services from Apple or Google, now is a good time to give Flipboard another try.
Flipboard was my news app of choice for several years, right up until Apple News was unveiled in 2015 as part of iOS 9. As Apple News continued improving – particularly with its iOS 10 revamp – Flipboard seemed to remain in a relatively quiet season as far as updates are concerned. I’m glad to see that change with today’s release. Smart Magazines and the new look may not be enough to compel me to switch from Apple News, but they do make a good service even better.
One disappointing note worth mentioning is that Flipboard’s redesign is currently only available on iPhone, not iPad. For an app that got its start on the iPad, this seems an odd omission. According to a company statement to Walt Mossberg, “An iPad version is likely in a few months.” Here’s hoping the word ‘likely’ refers to the timeframe, not the creation of an iPad app altogether.
Flipboard 4.0 is available on the App Store.